Sunday, January 27, 2008

I think this is what they call "having issues"

I made Meyer Lemon and Blackberry cupcakes (recipe below). I frosted each cupcake with icing from "The Joy of Cooking"--basically 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice--then topped each one with a sliver of lemon peel.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄4 cup zest and juice of one Meyer lemon
3⁄4 cup buttermilk (I actually used applesauce instead and it worked just fine)
1⁄2 cup butter, softened
3⁄4 cup orange blossom honey*
2 large eggs
1⁄2 pint blackberries (the original recipe calls for raspberries, but blackberries were just as good)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Combine lemon zest and juice, and buttermilk/applesauce in a separate bowl and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add honey and mix well. Then add eggs, one at a time.

Add half of the reserved dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix on low until just combined.

With mixer running on low, slowly add the lemon mixture. Add remaining dry ingredients until combined. Gently fold in raspberries. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 2⁄3 full. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack, then ice.

Monday, January 21, 2008

27, Yo

It's been a wonderful birthday this year. I took today off work because it's my birthday and because Chris gets MLK day off, so I figured I'd give myself a three-day weekend that we could both enjoy together.

Saturday, we were supposed to have this MONSTER snowstorm. Two to four inches is what they were predicting, and instead we got a slight dusting. Kind of a bummer that we didn't get more, but I'm just happy that we got a little taste of snow this year. Because of the dire weather predictions and knowing that the roads here could be a mess because people can't drive in rain, let alone snow, we decided to stay in most of Saturday. I got a lot of cleaning and decluttering done, and that's just the kind of thing that makes a homebody like me quite happy.

Chris and I got back from the mall, got cleaned up and headed out for dinner. We went to Jibarra and it was one of those things where as soon as we walked in the door, we knew we were in for a good experience. They didn't have a table immediately available for us, so we had some drinks at the bar. I had the Pear-Cilantro Margarita and Chris had the Blood Orange Margarita. Both were awesome.

When we were seated for dinner, we opted to get a bottle of the Moet White Star, which ended up being the perfect compliment to both our meals, despite the fact that our meals couldn't have been more different. I had the Fajita de Arrachera (grilled Premium Angus Beef Skirt Steak served with sautéed bell peppers, onion, and tomato on top of corn tortillas and black onion-ash oil with a cactus paddle salad) and Chris had the Ravioles de Huitlacoche (homemade Huitlacoche [Mexican Truffle] ravioli in a creamy cheese-epazote sauce and pan seared wild-caught scallops). Both dishes were unreal. The steak for my fajitas was tender and the scallops from Chris's dish were like buttah and practically melted in your mouth. So. good.

We wrapped the evening up with dessert. I had the Buñuelos con Cremas (a small tower of crunchy flour sheets served with two fruit pastry creams and fresh fruits finished with piloncillo syrup) and Chris had the Mil Hojas de cajeta y plátano (thousand layer cake of puff pastry with a caramelized goat milk reduction and escabeche plantain ice cream). I wish we had taken pictures of everything.

On today's agenda: gym visit, reading some of "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," baking a cake or cupcakes, and huge-ass scallops for dinner. I love birthdays.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Amaryllis Transformation

Last weekend:


What kind of crazy mixed up science stuff is this???

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Like Sleeping on a Cloud

Despite the fact that my birthday is still a week away, I opened my first birthday present yesterday. I had put a featherbead on my Amazon wish list and when a huge box labeled DOWN LITE arrived on my doorstep, I figured opening the box wouldn't exactly ruin any surprise.

Oh. My. God. It's like heaven. It's soft and poofy and warm and just lovely. Plus, there's a "Spring/Summer" side and a "Fall/Winter" side made from different materials so that you don't drown in a pool of your own sweat in the summer (which is likely to happen here in North Carolina).

So, thanks mom and daddy! You just made our lives quite a bit better.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Christmas Recap

Christmas 2007 was fantastic. It's a great time of the year anyway, but being surrounded by your favorite people and having a few days off work to hang out with those people, it just doesn't get much better. And to get presents on top of that??? Icing on the cake, buddy.
Chris and I got far too much cool stuff and we've been enjoying all of it. Between coats, and sweaters, and food, and candles, and books (the books! my god there's a lot!), and DVDs and stuff, we've been having a good time.

Chris and I had been wanting a digital SLR, but mainly due to the kitchen remodel, we decided to postpone that for a bit. But when I got a nice bonus at work, I sneakily bought this guy for the two of us from Amazon:

For the price, I'm not sure it gets better than this. It takes great pictures, as evidenced by the fact that my brother Rob uses this camera and his pictures are always phenomenal.

Anyway, I'm still learning how to use this bad boy, but it's allowed me already to take some good photos.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Definition of "Squeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

I'm pretty sure that "squeeeeeeeeeee!" is the noise that eeked out of my mouth yesterday when I opened the box that contained this beauty.
I've been wanting a red bag forever and this seemed to fit the bill as an early birthday present, especially after it went on sale. I've talked about Hayden-Harnett bags here, here, and here and this bag has the same wonderful hardware, perfect stitching, and quality leather as my other H-H bag. For what you get, I think these bags are a great buy, especially if you can get them on sale.
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